Pastor and TikToker. Two professions you might not imagine have much in common, let alone imagine someone simultaneously doing both. It is not only possible to do, but possible to do successfully. Just ask 2016 Belmont alum Kristoff Hart.
The foundation for Hart’s life and purpose is his faith as a Christian. Attending church was a big part of his upbringing, and he continued to practice his faith when he came to Belmont in the fall of 2012. When asked how he found Belmont, Hart replied with a chuckle, “I got kidnapped into going to Belmont.” He continued to explain that he came to Nashville with his father while he was attending a conference at the Opryland hotel. One morning, they went out for a drive and much to the surprise of Kristoff, they arrived at Belmont for a tour. Although the involuntary excursion was initially frustrating, Hart couldn’t deny the incredible experience he had when he set foot on campus. “I fell in love with the school that day!”
He recalled his first weeks at Belmont, sitting in the lobby of Maddox Hall discussing faith with some fellow residents who identified as atheist and agnostic. Hart found himself unable to answer questions he had never been asked before and was inspired by them to dig deeper to find these answers for himself. Throughout his first year, he deconstructed his faith, which he realized was built from borrowed elements of his parents, and began to reconstruct a faith of his own.
There were two major figures that Hart attributed to greatly supporting him and his faith journey in his time at Belmont: the men’s basketball team and Dr. Sybril Brown. Volunteering as a manager for the men’s basketball team, Hart considered the team to be his family. Spending extended periods of time together, he expressed gratitude for having people to lean on when things got tough, as well as having people to celebrate life’s (and basketballs) victories with. Hart met Dr. Brown when he first toured Belmont as a prospective student, also upon the arrangement of his father. He enjoyed talking with her and wound up enrolling in one of her classes. One class turned into a few, which became an enduring friendship and mentorship. “She would encourage me, or give me real talk,” Hart recalled. Her honesty coupled with her genuine support helped Hart to find his path in both his career and his life.
After graduating from Belmont in 2016 with a degree in music business, Hart worked in marketing and social media for the music industry. While working for various companies in the creative realm, Hart continually asked, “How do we create things that are excellent?” Much of his creative inspiration can be drawn back to the book of Genesis. “The first way that God is characterized in the Bible is as a creator,” he shared.
When he transitioned into ministry, serving as a communications director, his skills in social media and content creation continued to serve him. He realized that “furthering the name of Jesus is what I was meant to do.” He continued on to be a creative director and then an online pastor. At the height of the pandemic, he found himself re-defining the platforms in which he could share his faith. While continuing to preach regularly, he began pursuing the development of Christ-centered social media content, namely Instagram and TikTok. Despite feeling a bit unsure if this was a conflict of interest, preaching and developing a social media presence for himself, he continued creating content. He felt that God called him to do it.
One day, while scrolling through TikTok, Hart came across the Incubator Program for Black Creatives. Normally, this would have initiated a spiral of self-doubt, but he submitted the brief application without hesitation and remained fully authentic to his content. Hart is one of only 100 individuals accepted to the program among more than 5,000 applicants. The program is aimed at enabling Black creatives to continue creating content at a high level while continuing to develop as creatives. It connects them with large-scale brands and provides the resources to advance their talents into a career.
Hart is thrilled to be in the program to continue advancing his skills but says he’s not looking to stop preaching anytime soon. “God has been so kind to me and he’s not finished yet! I’m excited for what’s to come.”